Pathare Prabhu Pav with homemade wild yeast aka khameer 


There are many traditional Indian recipes which call for the use of ‘khameer’ – the wild yeast starter used to leaven Indian bread.

Pathare Prabhus too have a unique wild yeast sourdough summer recipe and the peculiarity of this ‘bread’ is that it’s  typically paired with aam-ras!

The summer after we got married, my wife and I were invited to a ceremonial dinner at a relative’s residence in South Mumbai.

On our arrival I immediately sensed the aroma of the baking sourdough – which my wife attributed to their humid stuffy kitchen and probably some food gone rancid in their bin!

Imagine her shock when I revealed that the smell which she found offensive was actually from the prep of an integral part of our dinner that evening!

The hot humid Mumbai summer offers near perfect conditions to cultivate this yeast and is equally conducive to the fermentation process so critical to get the right texture of these leavened breads.

The yeast starter and the resultant product have a unique aroma – unless you’re familiar with the smell, it will certainly strike you as strange and maybe even unpleasant (like overly sour buttermilk or the aroma while making homemade ghee).


Making the starter – 

Take 2 fistfuls (½ cup) chana dal in a container with a narrow mouth (कळशी).

Add the peel of a potato, a pinch of soda. Put this container into a dabba with a lid that shuts tightly.

Fill the inner container with a lukewarm mix of milk and water upto it’s neck. (equal proportions – 1 cup each) Shut the dabba and leave it undisturbed for at least 10-12 hours in a warm place. (Preferably overnight).


At the end of this period, the mix will have fermented yielding a sour smelling frothy mix (as seen in the pic below).

An old PP housewive’s tale narrates how the starter making must be kept completely secret.

Legend has it that if your neighbours find out about your plans before the starter is successful, your bread is destined for disaster!


This is what your starter (wild yeast) with which you need to leaven your batter for the ‘Pav’ should look like at the end of the fermentation process.

Making the dough (batter)

Collect the fermented liquid and the froth on top in a large glass bowl. Discard the potato peels and chana dal. Ensure that not a single peel or grain of dal gets into your batter – I’ve been told that it can cause the resultant product to taste bitter – have never tried doing it, hence can’t vouch for this fact.


Into the fermented liquid (which should be approximately 2 cups), fold in 3 cups of refined flour (maida) and mix till you have a thick batter (slightly thicker than idli batter).

If you think you need a little more liquid to get the right consistency, add some lukewarm water to the chana dal and rinse off – use this to adjust the consistency of batter.

Add a teaspoon of honey, ½ a teaspoon of salt and a quarter cup of melted butter / ghee into the batter.


Cover this with a thick cloth / plastic sheet and let the batter rise till its at least  tripled in volume.


Pour this gently into the moulds which you will use to bake the ‘pav’. Let these moulds rest for a few minutes.

Bake the moulds in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 20-25 minutes or till the tops turn a lovely golden colour.


Once they are a lovely golden colour, take the moulds out of the oven and brush the tops with some melted butter.

The resultant bread should be airy and resemble the texture of a moist light muffin.

Serve these with aamras  and if you think that’s too radical, have them with a hot cup of chai with some butter sprinkled with grain sugar or smeared with some jam.

5 thoughts on “Pathare Prabhu Pav with homemade wild yeast aka khameer 

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  2. can you use only milk for the gonda? also, can one use this starter to make thick dough like ladi pav (mumbai special). I am also thinking of using this as a starter for milk bread, any suggestions?

    • I’m not so sure about using full milk – may interfere / accelerate the fermentation process. About using this as a starter for laadi pav or milk bread, I’ve never made any of those with this starter – but no reason for it to not work! Let me know the results 😀

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